News Features

  TN film industry promotes unity in Lanka

By Stanley Samarasinghe
South Indian film actress R. Radhikaa Sarath Kumar, who has acted in more than 300 films, is married to the President of the South Indian Film Artistes’ Guild.

Radhikaa is the daughter of very famous villain in South Indian films, M.R. Radha, who married a Sinhalese girl from Vennappuwa; Geetha Fernando, Radikaa’s mother. Radhikaa owns Radaan Mediaworks Company in Chennai.

She was educated in Sri Lanka, at the Holy Family Convent in Bambalapitiya. The Nation had a brief conversation with the actress to learn first hand information on the recently held protest campaign in Chennai, demanding for the active involvement of the Indian Central Government in solving the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.

Following are excerpts:
Q: What are your sources of information regarding the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and the LTTE, and do you think that information you receive are reliable?
We receive a lot of information from the Government of Sri Lanka and Tamil Members of Parliament.

Q: What are your views about the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka?
My life as a student was spent in Sri Lanka as I was educated at the Holy Family Convent. I was living among Sinhalese and Tamils during that period. I know the major problems faced by the Tamil people. Language problem was their major problem. The LTTE and the Sri Lanka Government should solve this problem through negotiation. The Government of India and Tamil politicians too must take part in these negotiations.

Q: Do you consider the LTTE as a genuine liberal organisation?
That is a very difficult question for me to answer; at the inception, the LTTE was a good organisation. But later on, it took to violence. You cannot solve any problem through violence. I believe that only through peaceful negotiations you can solve problems. So, the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must commence negotiations. Violence only brings disaster to society.

Q: The LTTE killed TULF leaders such as Amirthalingam, Neelan Thiruchelvam Yogeshwaran Silvasithaparam and many others who fought for the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils, democratically. They abduct and recruit children for war. What is your comment on those matters?
I don’t believe in violence. Once again, I must say that violence brings disaster to the society and makes the situation worst. I am not in a position to say who is right and who is wrong. We know that as a result of this war, a large number of Tamil people are suffering. They are internally displaced and the life is miserable for them. It is only LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who could answer to the question why the LTTE killed their TULF leaders.

Q: Recently, in Chennai, South Indian film stars launched a protest. What was the purpose behind that endeavour?
It was done purely on humanitarian grounds. As far as I am concerned, I participated in that protest to bring relief to the innocent Tamil people. I never intend to support the LTTE. I believe that others also participated with the same view. But there were some extremists who participated in that protest too.

Q: The LTTE assassinated former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. What is your comment on this?
Prabhakaran himself admitted that it was a historical blunder that he made.

Q: What are your views on the Sinhala-Tamil unity in Sri Lanka?
As a person, who has studied in Sri Lanka, I believe Sinhala and Tamil unity is very essential to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic country. Sinhalese, as the majority ethnic group, must live peacefully with the other two ethnic groups recognising equal rights of others. They must live in a manner that would help preserve the national unity.

Q: Do you, as a Tamil, promote any campaign to separate Tamil Nadu from India?
Never. I like to introduce myself as an Indian rather than a Tamil. I prefer to be Indian with all other ethnic groups in India. I consider Sri Lankans as very good friends. During my 12 years stay in Sri Lanka, I enjoyed their association.

Q: Do you have any proposals to solve the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka?
I cannot suggest any proposals, but Sri Lanka Government and the LTTE must solve this problem through negotiations without any delay, because Sinhala and Tamil people are suffering due to this war.